Bhi Bhiman is a excellent song writer with a huge/amazing voice. His songs are unique. They’re quirky. His song Kimchee Line was the first song I’d ever heard written from the perspective of a North Korean man. It’s a great song, but if you don’t have the proper context for it, it won’t make much sense. So I thought it would be the perfect way to cover these research skills before we began our unit.
Here’s a concise version of how it went in my 6th grade English class last year (the lesson took 2 days):
Step 1: We listened to the song and read the lyrics. At this point the kids were reading with slightly confused looks on their faces. Also they seemed amazed at my impeccable taste in music. But maybe I was reading too much into their expressions...
Step 2: I asked a few students to explain what’s happening in the song. Who the speaker is. What the situation is. The answers were all over the place. No real consensus on what was happening. They had fallen right into my carefully laid educational trap.
Step 3: I asked them to identify words or phrases that could be clues to the meaning of the song. I wrote those in black on the board.
Step 4: Using prior knowledge, they made inferences about what the words and phrases could mean. I wrote the inferences on the board in green. I didn’t lead them in a particular direction here. I just wrote down their thoughts and ideas.
Step 5: After the discussion and inferences, most of my classes were on the right track. There was at least one kid in every class who knew kimchee was Korean. Some classes knew general knowledge of the conflict between North and South Korea. The next step for us was to do some research to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. We developed a few essential research terms. History of Korea, North Korea, Kim Jong Un Korean war, etc.
Step 6: The students searched the internet for information about the topics. It gave me an opportunity to reinforce what they’d learned in elementary about reliable sources. I also had them start with the online databases our library utilizes.
Step 7: The final step was to come back together after doing the research and discuss the song again. This time, though, they had the proper context for the song, so their understanding of it was greatly enhanced.Their minds were blown by the power of research. It was like rewatching the entire Game of Thrones series after you find out that...just kidding. No spoilers here.
Here’s a link to the video for Kimchee Line. It’s going to get stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
6th Grade English